Violence is an inherent part of human nature and American society is not exempt from this basic instinct. American land was settled with violence; the American colonies formed through violent acts; the United States of America was founded with violence; and we continue our independence through the violence of warfare. Violence is found in every aspect of life from entertainment to war. As a civilized society we try to counter-act our violent nature, but it remains at the core of our existence.
Violent acts often seem senseless to observers, but occur from a multitude of underlying factors. In Florida, a retired police officer shot a man in a movie theater during a dispute purportedly because the victim was texting during a movie.1 The officer “had numerous commendations”2 and trained others in gun safety; neighbors spoke highly of him; but his actions turned violent with little provocation.3 It is possible that the retired officer suffered from some mental health disorder that was the underlying issue of his violent act. However, the retired officer contends that he felt threatened by the victim, who struck him before the offender pulled out his weapon4; on closer examination the offender could have used violence to defend himself against a violent act.
Americans hold a sense of the right to personal protection, even through violent means. While some members of society, such as the retired police, resort to violence when they feel threatened, others use violence as a form of control. Take for example the sub-culture of gangs in America. Violence in gangs is a common occurrence in disputes over such things as territory or loyalty. Unfortunately innocent people are also hurt in the course of these disputes; take for instance a ten month old child who was shot in Kansas City during a drive-by shooting.5 The child’s father, “an admitted gang member,”6was the intended target of the shooting; however, he was holding his child at the time of the attack7 and it was the child that suffered most. This trauma will continue on with this child for the rest of her life and will affect her view of society and violence.
American society attempts to counteract violence in many ways. Laws are enacted to create consequences of violent behavior. The retired officer will face a jury to decide his fate after his violent actions in the movie theater8 and the gang-member father is set to face a judge to decide his future.9 ...